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Suzanne Bull

Suzanne Bull

Chief Executive of Attitude is Everything

How would you describe a good leader?

Compassion, tolerance, being passionate about what you do, encouraging and enthusing your team, being collaborative, being positive, finding solutions and not dwelling on problems, learning from every experience – good or bad. For good qualities of leadership, I guess I look to Jenny Sealey, Maria O’Shodi and Julia Payne at the hub. In the “celebrity” league then it is Debbie Harry, Bjork, Kate Bush…probably too many to mention.

Does having an impairment or health issue change the experience of leadership?

Absolutely! I’ve often struggled with this assumption that to be a CEO / Leader you have to work 120 hours / week, and others expect you to do this, in order to fulfill everything that is expected of a CEO in a small organisation! I’ve often wondered, can I really be a Leader if I haven’t got that physical energy and sometimes I’m doing less hours than other senior staff. However, I’ve also been in the unique position of literally having to be the “Leader” because in the past, there literally has been no one else who is disabled for people to come to for advice and guidance. This has built my confidence and my self-esteem. I’ve had to make my own career path in lots of ways because I felt that careers officers didn’t know what to suggest for me (except secretarial work as I could sit down!). My parents were very supportive though and told me I could do anything I wanted to do which is wonderful to have as a starting point. I think because of the periods of isolation and exclusion, I’m more of a collaborative leader (I hope, my colleagues might not agree there!)

Do you think there are barriers to leadership for disabled people that non-disabled people don’t face?

Yes, your personal energy levels that can limit the amount of work that you can comfortably do or the amount of hours that you can work, the way that non disabled people may perceive you (they might assume that you don’t work at all or you are in a very junior position) of course, all the environmental barriers!

http://www.attitudeiseverything.org.uk